The statute of limitations in a personal injury case is the time limit for which a person is legally allowed to file a claim, and anybody who does not file a case within a specified statute of limitations risks not being able to take any legal action. When you believe you have any kind of personal injury case in California, always be sure to get the help of an experienced San Mateo personal injury lawyer.
Some people have a tendency to think of the time limits applying to their cases as meaning they can afford to wait to seek legal representation, but this can be a mistake because waiting too long may not give an attorney enough time to properly investigate a claim. The result can very well be that no lawyer is willing to handle your case, and you will have to scramble to file a case in court on your own with very little to guarantee any level of success.
Statutes of Limitations in California
Different kinds of accidents in California have different statutes of limitations. To help you understand the differences, here are some of the most common statutes governing time limits for personal injury cases:
- Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1, an action for assault, battery, injury to, or the death of a person caused by the neglect or wrongful act of another must be filed within two years. If an injury is not immediately discovered, then the time limit is one year from the date an injury is discovered. The exception can be difficult to prove, so you will always be better off filing within two years.
- Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 338, any action to recover for damage to private property must be filed within three years.
- Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 340.5, an action for injury or death against a health care provider based upon that person’s alleged professional negligence (medical malpractice) must be filed within three years of the date of an injury or one year after a person discovers or should have discovered an injury, whichever happens first. In no event can the commencement of legal action exceed three years unless tolled upon proof of fraud, intentional concealment, or the presence of a foreign body with no therapeutic or diagnostic effect or purpose in the person of the injured party. Actions by minors must commence within three years of the date of the alleged wrongful act, except that actions by a minor under 6 years of age can be commenced within three years or before the minor’s 8th birthday, whichever provides a longer period. The time limitation for minors is tolled for any period during which a parent or guardian and the defendant’s insurer or health care provider have committed collusion or fraud in a failure to bring an action on behalf of the injured minor for professional negligence.
- Under California Government Code § 911.2, actions against government entities such as cities, townships, counties, the state, or any related departments or divisions first require a person to file a notice of claim within six months of the incident causing injury or death. Should a claim be denied, you have an additional six months from the date the denial was mailed out to file a civil action. If a claim is not denied, you could have up to two years to file a lawsuit.
- Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 337, an action upon any contract, obligation, or liability founded upon an instrument in writing needs to be filed within four years.
- Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 339, an action upon any contract, obligation, or liability not founded upon an instrument in writing (oral contract) needs to be filed within two years.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a San Mateo Personal Injury Lawyer
Are you wondering how long you will have to take legal action for a personal injury claim in California? Let The Law Office of Reuben J. Donig handle all of the paperwork for you so you can focus on your recovery.
Our firm will be able to conduct an independent investigation and work to make sure that your claim gets heard in time. Call (650) 649-4622 or contact us online to set up a free consultation so we can take a closer look at your case and discuss all of your options with you.